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News - May 23, 2023


CONTACT: Zoë McMahon | 703-405-1895 |

Goodwin Living™ Awarded CMP Grant to Expand Equine Assisted Learning Programming to Older Adults Across Virginia

Goodwin Living Equine Assisted Learning Program will be shared with residents in four Virginia nursing homes through 2025

 Alexandria, Va. – Goodwin Living™, a not-for-profit, faith-based, regional senior living and health care services organization in the National Capital Region, announced that it has received a grant of $384,000 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Civil Monetary Penalties (CMP) Reinvestment Program to extend their equine assisted learning program to residents at four nursing centers in Virginia. The grant will be distributed in increments of $128,000 over three years, through June 30, 2025. The CMP grant is administered by the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS).

To provide the equine assisted learning program, Goodwin Living works in partnership with Simple Changes, a farm located in Mason Neck, Va. Goodwin House Alexandria Social Worker Barbara Bolin and Simple Changes Director Corliss Wallingford collaborated to develop the program, which is designed to help older adults experiencing mental, emotional or behavioral challenges such as dementia, anxiety and depression. With this CMP grant, the program will be offered to nursing care residents of Goodwin House Alexandria, Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, and two other nursing centers.

“Goodwin Living has found that new experiences like equine assisted learning are one of the best ways to help older adults connect with the world around them,” said Rob Liebreich, President and CEO of Goodwin Living. “Our team is looking forward to our continued work with Simple Changes to bring the benefits of equine assisted learning to more older adults, thanks to the support of CMS, DMAS and the CMP grant.”

The CMP grant will cover weekly visits from the four nursing centers, and residents will have the option to participate in four-week sessions. The equine assisted learning program at Simple Changes is designed to help participants be in the moment and practice self-awareness, which are methods that are also used to help older adults living with dementia. Participants begin with introductions to one another and to the horses. They complete stretching and mindfulness activities to engage all five senses before moving on to the day’s lesson plan, which can consist of horse identification, grooming, feeding, leading, discussing equine literature, poetry and haiku writing and making horse treats.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to expand the equine assisted learning program and share it with more older adults in Virginia,” said Bolin. “There have been proven mental health and memory benefits when working with animals, and we are excited to continue this engaging program with Simple Changes.”

“Even though my mom is in memory care, she remembers the program, remembers facts about the horses, and she talks about the program director even months later,” said Sara Franco of her mother, Anne Withers, a regular equine therapy participant. “It gives her something to look forward to.”

The CMP is a federal fund collection of imposed penalties against certified nursing homes deemed non-compliant. The funds are used for projects that help protect and improve the quality of life and care for individuals in a nursing home.

For more information on the equine assisted learning program from Goodwin Living and Simple Changes Therapeutic Riding Center, please watch the video below visit our blog at this link:

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About Goodwin Living™ ( Goodwin Living™ touches the lives of thousands of people every day through its range of senior living communities, specialized healthcare services, community partnerships and philanthropic endeavors. With a mission to support, honor and uplift the lives of older adults and the people who care for them, Goodwin Living leads the way in expanding the places and ways we can all thrive and find purpose as we age. Older adults will discover options that meet them where they want to be, and those options are managed and provided by team members who represent more than 65 countries. Goodwin Living is a Washington Post Top Workplace for four consecutive years, from 2019 to 2022. Get more information at or by following Goodwin Living on Facebook and LinkedIn.




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